Simple Tips for Keeping Your Fish Cleaning Station Clean

A fish cleaning station can be a game-changer for any fishing enthusiast - no more messy kitchen counters or struggling with scales and bones in the sink, making your post-fishing mess cleanup hassle-free. But what about maintenance? How do you keep it hygienic? Are there dos and don'ts for how to clean your fish cleaning station? 

Caring for a fish cleaning table isn't as daunting as you might think. With a few simple steps and regular upkeep, you can keep your fish cleaning table food safe and in good shape for your next catch! 

Benefits of Owning a Fish Cleaning Station 

The advantages of owning a fish cleaning station can enhance your fishing experience in ways you may not have considered. A station brings unparalleled convenience to your boating or fishing trips, eliminating the need to find an appropriate place to clean your catch. With all necessary tools within arm's reach, cleaning fish becomes far less arduous! 

Fish Tables Bring Convenience and Efficiency 

Fish cleaning stations simplify cleaning up your fish. They are far less painful on your back, bringing the fish to a manageable height so you don't have to hunch over and providing stability so you don't accidentally cut yourself if fish slip around the table. They are also highly versatile; you can mount them in multiple areas (like on your dock or boat) and get portable fish cleaning tables to use wherever you want. 

Since running water is essential, fish tables are usually vented to allow water to escape. Slippery fish are kept contained by a border running along the edges, unlike the battle of using the top of your ice chest as a cleaning table and cutting board! 

Haven Dock & Marine's fishing cleaning stations are made with non-corrosive materials, resilient marine-grade aluminum to resist the elements, and TIG welding for a secure fit with no crevices that fight bacteria build-up. The tabletop surface material is constructed from high density polyethylene that is easy to clean and sterilize. They're also effortless to install! 

Fish Cleaning Stations Generate Cost Savings 

Purchasing pre-cleaned fish often comes with added costs, which can accumulate over time. Having your own dedicated space for this task - namely, a well-equipped fish cleaning station - significantly reduces expenses. 

And what about fishing enthusiasts who love having their own fresh fish to eat and share with friends? You definitely need a reliable solution for cleaning your catches! 

Fish Cleaning Stations Safeguard Against Cross-Contamination 

Easy cleanup is vital here. A fish cleaning table minimizes risks associated with improper food handling, like cross-contamination or bacterial growth, by giving you a dedicated space for cleaning your fish. 

Fish Cleaning Stations Maintain Quality & Freshness Immediately After Catch 

Fish remains fresh only as long as they're treated right after being caught; any delay could compromise their taste and texture quality. Your fish cleaning table ensures immediate processing so you get the best quality. 

Fish Cleaning Stations Help You Practice Overall Food Safety 

Bacteria are often not visible to the naked eye. You may have toxins on your table that you cannot see or smell. While rinsing your station with fresh water regularly can help, it doesn't mean you've eliminated all residual particles, fish parts, and slime hanging around in the sun all day (which could make you sick). 

When a fillet is on the surface without any skin, any bacteria in the fish could stick to your cleaning surface. Fish slime is a fantastic breeding ground, and it's oily enough to resist being sprayed off with simple water. And while cooking kills bacteria, it may not kill the toxins released by bacteria, which is a problem. 

How to Clean a Fish Cleaning Table 

So how do you maintain hygiene standards and keep your station clean while handling seafood? Let's explore. 

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies 

The first step in maintaining a pristine fish cleaning station involves gathering all necessary supplies: mild detergent, scrub brushes, disposable gloves, bleach, and access to plenty of water - much like CDC guidelines suggest when keeping food preparation areas clean. 

Clean Your Fish Cleaning Station After Each Use 

Always discard your scraps and keep rinsing during the cleaning and fillet process. This helps prevent any blood, guts, and oily slime from sticking to the table. 

An uncomplicated mixture of dish soap and warm water does wonders in eliminating dirt, grime, and oils. This duo effectively breaks down oily residue. Mix some soapy water and scrub to remove anything clinging to the board. Pay special attention to corners, which often harbor hidden dirt deposits. Rinse off soap residue thoroughly until no suds remain visible either on table surfaces or the sink area (if present). 

Disinfection Stage 

Last but certainly not least is disinfecting your freshly cleaned station - crucial for preventing cross-contamination between different types of seafood. 

People vary in their opinions on bleach. Some use it liberally, and some use a 50/50 solution. The FDA suggests a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon per gallon of warm (not hot) water as an effective sanitizing agent against potential pathogens lurking around such spaces. 

Spray this concoction generously across every part, then let it sit undisturbed for ten minutes before rinsing thoroughly, followed by complete drying. 

Favor natural cleaners? Consider vinegar. Vinegar spray is safe on most surfaces, including wood fillet boards. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bottle for easy application. It's not quite as effective as commercial-grade cleaners, but it can still be beneficial. 

Don't forget - it's essential to rinse off any residual chemicals from your fishing table after using any cleaning product so as not to contaminate future catches. 

DIY Tips for New Buyers of Fish Cleaning Stations 

Purchasing your first fish cleaning station will make your life easier and enable you to practice good food-safe practices. Your fish table will also benefit from being cared for regularly, so your investment will last longer. 

We have a few tips to share so you maximize the benefits of your cleaning table and make it convenient to use! 

Choose Your Spot Wisely 

The location where you set up your fish cleaning station can make all the difference in its longevity and functionality. Look for a shaded area with easy access to running water - making cleaning fish and maintaining cleanliness much simpler. 

Practice Regular Post-Use Cleanup 

As we've mentioned, cleaning stations need regular attention after each use; leftover scales or guts could attract unwanted pests and bacteria or produce unpleasant odors if not dealt with promptly. 

Routine Maintenance Checks Are Key 

Apart from post-use cleanup, keep an eye out for signs of wear, such as cracks on the table's surface or rusting metal parts that may affect cleaner fish activity hours at deep cleaning stations like yours. Timely repairs will prevent further damage, saving costs down the line. 

Keep Safety in Mind 

Gloves can give you a better grip on slippery fish and knives, and full-coverage shoes can protect your feet if the knife accidentally falls to the ground. 

Food-Safe Practices for a Fish Cleaning Station 

Food safety at your fish cleaning station isn't something to take lightly. It's a critical aspect of the fishing experience, directly impacting the quality of your catch and its safe consumption. 

Here are some critical tips outside of cleanliness that you can follow to ensure food-safe practices. 

Proper Food Handling 

Handling raw seafood correctly is integral to the fish cleaning station procedures. Avoid touching other objects without washing hands thoroughly first - this helps prevent bacterial contamination from spreading around. 

Preventing Cross Contamination 

Cross-contamination is another area where extra caution must be taken during fish cleaning. Never place cooked seafood back onto an unsanitized surface previously used for raw fish. The CDC recommends a simple rule: separate plates and utensils for each type. 

Don't forget to use separate cutting boards if preparing different types of foods together, especially when vegetables and meat come into play. 

Temperature Control For Seafood Storage 

Last but certainly not least comes temperature control during storage post-cleaning sessions and when storing and thawing seafood. 

A few rules of thumb from foodsafety.gov: 

  • Cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145°F. 
  • Do not leave seafood unrefrigerated for over two hours (or more than an hour if exposed to temperatures above 90°F). Bacteria that cause illness can proliferate between 40°F and 140°F. 
  • If you are a raw fish lover, eat fish that has been previously frozen, as some fish species can contain parasites. Freezing should kill any harmful parasites lurking in your fish (it doesn't kill all harmful germs, however). 
  • Be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water when you've touched raw seafood. 
  • Clean your coolers with hot soapy water before packing cooked seafood. If you transported raw seafood in it, sanitize the interior after you clean it. 

Check Out Haven Dock & Marine's Fish Cleaning Tables 

The right products can make all the difference. As the premiere provider of marina equipment and accessories, Haven Dock & Marine has fish cleaning table options for the fish lover in you! 

Give our team at Haven Dock & Marine a call today, and we'll get you going with a quality fish cleaning station that will make the fish cleaning process a breeze.